Nayel Nassar doesn’t always jump Coronado. But when he does, they tend to win.
That’s the trend this year, at least. The 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding has only jumped ten 1.60m and four 1.55m classes this year, but has won more prize money in 2023—€500,255—than all previous years combined (€355,227 from 2015–2021), according to Jumpr App.
“He’s been incredible this year; he’s won three grand prixs,” Nassar said of Coronado (Cassini x Accord). “I’ve had him for two and a half years now but it feels like longer. He’s just such a trier and he’s totally an adrenaline junkie. My wife likes to ride him at home and you would never guess that he’s got that sort of energy when you watch him flat around. He just knows when it’s time to shine and just has all the attributes of a superstar show jumper.”
On Friday at Desert International Horse Park in California those attributes were on display in the final Grand Prix of the Major League Season. Nassar and the stunning grey topped a 10-horse jump off to win the CSI5* Visit Greater Palm Springs 1.55m Grand Prix.
“He was absolutely fantastic tonight,” said Nassar. “I felt last week he was a little short of jumping. You know, he had a little bit of a break before coming here. We’ve been using him sparingly this year, and he tends to be a horse that gets better the more you jump. So I had high hopes for tonight and he came out and proved us all right,.”
“I have to say when I went in there wasn’t a fast round that had been laid down yet so I tried to be relatively conservative but still be efficient enough for the people after me to have to take some risks. My horse is naturally quick, and the jump-off actually suited him with long gallops and a couple of turns. I thought I nailed that turn to the double, that was probably the place where I took some risks that some other people weren’t able to take,” continued the Egyptian Olympian.
“He’s an amazing combination jumper so I knew I could turn up to that. I tried to push a little wider but also keep my rhythm and it worked out.”
Two pairs were quicker. Mark Bluman on Ubiluc (36.71) and Mimi Gochman on Cosmos BH (38.75) both crossed the timers in faster times, but dropped a rail each. Canadian Olympian Amy Millar and Truman took second in 40.52 and USA’s Shawn Casady and Cool Quarz, third in 42.83 as the only other double clears.
Developed by Mexico’s Francisco Pasquel up to the 1.60m height, Coronado had a 20% top 10 finish average at the 1.55m before Nassar took over the reins (Jumpr App). That stat has jumped to 53% in the two and half years since.
“He’s such a such a beautiful goer,” said Nassar. “He has a beautiful stride. He lies down to the ground so well that it never really feels like you’re going flat out. But he just eats up the ground. He turns extremely well. And tonight was his night.”